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Replacement Exercises for Triceps Pushdown

author image Rick Rockwell
Rick Rockwell is a self-employed personal trainer and experienced freelance writer. His articles have been published throughout the Internet. He has more than eight years of experience as a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and lifestyle coach. His company, Rockwell Fitness, is dedicated to educating and empowering others to live healthy lifestyles.
Replacement Exercises for Triceps Pushdown
There are many replacement exercises for the triceps pushdown. Photo Credit Chris Clinton/Digital Vision/Getty Images

The triceps pushdown is an exercise that primarily targets the triceps brachii which is positioned on the backside of your arm between your elbow and shoulder joints. The triceps brachii roughly makes up 75 percent of your arm and is used in the extension of the elbow and the shoulder. If you are looking for a replacement to the pushdown exercise, there are numerous alternatives that can be done on various forms of equipment, such as dumbbells, cables and machines.

What's a Triceps PushDown

Traditionally, the triceps pushdown is performed on a cable pulley system with a rope. You stand facing the cable machine with your feet staggered in a walking position and grab the rope just above the black rubber knobs at the end. Adjust the cable height so your hands are eye level at the starting position. Keep your elbows to your sides and push down on the rope as you are straightening your arms downward. Do not lock your elbows at the bottom of the movement. This exercise exclusively works the triceps brachii.

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Cable Replacements

Depending on your training goals or experience level, you can do two-handed or one-handed triceps cable exercises. The triceps overhead extension is a common exercise that also uses a rope. Stand with your back toward the cable machine and with your feet in a staggered position. Grab the rope just above the black knobs and pull the rope so that your arms are completely extended over your head. When lowering the rope, come back down until there's a 90-degree bend in your elbows and then push back up to almost a complete extension. Do not lock out your elbows and try to keep your arms close to the side of your head. Choose a weight that allows you to comfortably perform this exercise for three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Dumbbell Replacements

Dumbbells can provide a challenging replacement for the pushdown exercise. They can also be done with one or two hands. With dumbbells you can do an overhead extension and kickbacks. To execute the triceps kickbacks, choose a weight that will allow you to comfortably perform the exercise for 10 to 12 reps. This exercise also requires the use of a bench. Bend over and place your right hand and right knee on the bench, with your left foot flat on the ground. Make sure your back is straight at all times. Grab the dumbbell in your left hand and bring your arm next to your side with a 90-degree bend in the elbow so that the forearm is perpendicular to the body. This is the starting position. Now, extend your left arm behind you so that it becomes parallel with the bench and your elbow is almost fully extended. Pause for a second without locking the elbow. Keep the dumbbell under control at all times so that you do not allow it to swing back and forth. After performing 10 to 12 reps on the left arm, switch sides and perform this exercise on the right side.

Machine Replacements

A common machine replacement for the pushdown is the triceps dip machine. These machines have a seat with back support and two bars, which are positioned on each side of you. Sit on the seat and grab the bars. Make sure your feet are flat on the ground. Push down on the bars until your arms are almost fully extended but do not lock your elbows. These machines have a seat-belt to keep you strapped down to the seat if you find yourself lifting off the seat when pushing down on the bars. Return to the starting position and choose a weight that allows you to comfortably perform this exercise for three sets of 10 to 12 reps.


Before beginning any of these triceps exercises, seek professional assistance from a personal trainer. He will determine which replacement exercises are best suited for your fitness goals and your experience level. He will also teach you how to operate the gym equipment, proper form and personal safety.

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